HDB shops to get funding boost for upgrading

A clothes shop in Toa Payoh Central. HDB said on May 9 that the upgrading budget for each shop will be increased, under the Revealing enhancements to the Revitalisation of Shops scheme.
A clothes shop in Toa Payoh Central. HDB said on May 9 that the upgrading budget for each shop will be increased, under the Revealing enhancements to the Revitalisation of Shops scheme.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Shops in Housing Board neighbourhoods will be allocated greater funding for upgrading, to form merchant associations if they do not already have one and engage upgrading consultants.

Revealing enhancements to the Revitalisation of Shops (ROS) scheme on Monday (May 9), the HDB said the upgrading budget for each shop will be raised from $20,000 to $35,000 per shop.

The shop owners' share of the upgrading cost will also be reduced from half to 20 per cent, and capped at $5,000 to encourage more shops to participate in the scheme. HDB and the town councils will co-fund the balance, capped at $30,000 per sold shop. They will continue to foot the entire upgrading cost for rental shops.

A new funding of up to $10,000 will also be given to Merchant Associations to appoint a consultant to help them with upgrading. These consultants could conduct retailer surveys and develop potential concepts for the upgrading works, said the HDB.

Heartland shops without a Merchant Association will also have the option of forming one with a new start-up fund of $10,000. The HDB said it will work closely with the Federation of Merchants' Association, Singapore to help retailers do so.

These changes follow recommendations from the Revitalise Heartland Shops Committee that was set up last year (2015) to study how the ROS scheme could be improved. The committee comprises Merchant Associations, retailers and grassroots organisations.

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat had announced during this year's Budget statement that $15 million would be set aside annually for the ROS scheme to help heartland shops be more vibrant and stay competitive.

At the Committee of Supply debate last month (April), Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee also said the Government would provide more support to HDB shops following the review of the ROS scheme.

Since it was introduced in Nov 2007, the ROS scheme has been rolled out to 4,684 shops across 54 HDB town and neighbourhood centres. Of these, 16 HDB town and neighbourhood centres have completed upgrading and another eight are still in progress.

Under the scheme, more than 300 promotional events have also been organised by Merchant Associations in a bid to draw more customers.

HDB shop owners and tenants with enquiries may call the HDB Commercial Properties toll-free line at 1800-866 3073.